Easy, affordable ESG reporting for mining
Onyen offers juniors an ESG department, without the high cost North of 60 Mining News – March 5, 2021
Last updated 3/18/2021 at 5:48pm
This article originally appeared in the March 3, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News, a Data Mine North LLC publication focused on mining technologies and technology metals. To find out more, visit the Metal Tech News website at http://www.metaltechnews.com.
A dinner conversation between two highly successful Canadian businesswomen led to the creation of Onyen – a powerful, affordable, and easy to use ESG reporting solution designed specifically to meet the needs of junior and midsized mining and mineral exploration companies.
"The Onyen platform is definitely a platform I would recommend to another junior mining company ... because of the simplicity, the cost, and the fact that we do expect that this increased disclosure will be required by the regulators and by the shareholders and from our other stakeholders. This is just an easy way to address it," said Catherine Stretch, vice president of corporate affairs at Troilus Gold Corp., one of the early adopters of the Onyen ESG reporting solution.
Mining and mineral exploration companies such as Troilus have long understood that maintaining a strong environmental, social, and corporate governance reputation goes a long way toward attracting investment capital and earning a social license to operate. Compiling the massive tomes of ESG data into industry-compliant reports that demonstrate to investors, manufacturers, consumers, and stakeholders they are serious about maintaining these standards, however, can be complex and often very expensive.
Onyen Corp. founder and CEO Laurie Clark, whose previous financial reporting and trading technology endeavors earned her a spot on the list of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017 and 2019, learned just how frustrating this can be while have dinner with Pelangio Exploration President and CEO Ingrid Hibbard, who is renowned for negotiating the sale of Detour Lake gold deposit in Ontario.
Taking its ESG reputation seriously and wanting to ensure that investors and stakeholders knew it, Hibbard was struggling with compiling the company's ESG data into a report that met the compliance of reporting and rating agencies. But the costs were high – US$50,000 to US$100,000 – even for a mineral exploration company as successful as Pelangio.
Clark, who has dedicated her career to compliance reporting in capital markets, was taken aback by the hefty price tag for a single ESG report.
Knowing what it takes to build comprehensive online reporting solutions, Clark decided to take on the challenge of creating such a system that fit the needs of small to midsized mining, mineral exploration, and oil and gas companies.
What Clark and her team developed is an easy to use and powerful solution that peels back the ESG data layers – offering the executive team and board insights into where the company is excelling, as well as areas that could use improvement.
"That is why we call it Onyen, because we are peeling back the layers," Clark told Metal Tech News.
This peeling back of layers, and the insights it provides, also serves as a learning and management tool that can be used to streamline and improve ESG compliance.
The Onyen reporting solution is preprogramed with the standards from 22 global sustainability agencies that drive ESG policies. This provides companies subscribed to the system with the ESG standards they should be reporting on based on company size, market sector, jurisdiction, and other factors.
"That has huge implication because they now understand which standards they are supposed to align themselves with, which is half the battle," said Clark.
The Onyen software simplifies the other half of the battle by offering a single system to input the pertinent ESG data and calculating a company's ESG score based on those inputs.
Take carbon dioxide emissions for example – an important piece to ESG reporting but a statistic most junior mining companies do not have a way to track. By simply inputting the amount of diesel, fuel oil, gasoline and other CO2 emitting fuels used, the Onyen software automatically calculates the greenhouse gas emissions in carbon dioxide-equivalent and then benchmarks the company's footprint against ESG standards based on the size and location of the operation.
The entire system is laid out in an intuitive and easy to use format that asks all the pertinent questions related to all ESG topics tracked by standards bodies – it even offers up definitions and instructions to assist users not deeply familiar with ESG terms and standards.
"We are the Tylenol," said Clark. "We have taken all the headaches away from all the mining and all the oil and gas companies."
Further alleviating the pain of generating the first ESG report, Onyen offers an analyst to assist companies' input of the initial data.
Once this first report is generated, a mining or mineral exploration company will have the ESG data that institutional and private investors are increasingly evaluating alongside the traditional performance data when making investment decisions.
"It is wonderful to see an all-in-one system – having the ability to benchmark against peers, against targets, water consumption, gas emissions, community engagement, monitor day-to-day safety operations," said Investor View Advisory Inc. CEO Ani Markova. "And having this available to the investors brings trust."
And – getting back to the upwards of US$100,000 price tag that first piqued Clark's interest in building an easy-to-use, flexible, and low-cost ESG reporting system for smaller resource companies – the entry level Onyen plan is US$7,500 per year.
"It allows you to report at the same level as a bigger company in a cost-effective manner – both time- and dollar-wise, without having to outsource a report to a specialized consulting firm which would be very costly," said Natasha Dixon, external relations manager at Pelangio, the exploration company that helped to plant the Onyen seed.
A seed that has grown from a dinner conversation between friends into a solution that allows mining and mineral exploration companies that do not have the resources to establish a dedicated ESG department to face the daunting task of generating the environmental, social, and governance data increasingly being sought and required by stakeholders and investors.
"I think the industry is motivated to report but it is too complicated, it is too difficult – oftentimes reporting doesn't get done because it falls into that area," said INV Metals Inc. Senior Vice President of ESG and Corporate Responsibility Mark Thorpe. "In using the Onyen system you have a very simple way of inputting the information and assigning the work to your teams, and I think would really help these smaller companies that don't have dedicated ESG professionals at a very high level to report in a very straightforward simple way to the benefit of themselves and of their stakeholders."